Card Patrick D'Rozario, archbishop of Dhaka, spoke at a ceremony held at the Archbishop’s Residence in Dhaka in front of 50 priests, 20 nuns and 30 lay Catholics.
"Go and seek out the homes of Christians that are the farthest from
your parishes and visit them," he said. “Bring the joy of the Gospel to
these families. Their members need closeness and spiritual advice."
"Many Christian families are hurting,” Card D'Rozario said. “They
need love and compassion. So you – priests, brothers and nuns – have to
visit them, listen and share their words. Family members want to hear
words of hope. Men and women religious are needed to take care of them.”
The cardinal noted that "our main goal is to take pastoral care of
families, because the family is a small church. It is the root of the
Church." Indeed, “Can a tree live if the roots are cut?” he asked. “This
is why we have to take care of the family."
Bangladesh “needs more trained people to respond better to the needs
of our people," the prelate added. Citing Pope Francis, he went on to
say that "We all need to pray at least two minutes a day as a family.
The husband prays for his wife, the wife prays for her husband, the
children pray for their parents. Everyone must pray for one another and
feel God’s presence in their lives."
In a country with a Muslim majority, where Christians account for
just 0.6 per cent of the population (out of more than 160 million
inhabitants), mixed marriages are commonplace. In light of this, the archbishop of Dhaka called for renewed interest in the real meaning of the marital bond.
"Many people,” he said, “think that marriage is only a social
tradition. They do not know that it is a calling from God. The family is
the mirror of God’s love. For this reason, it is not just a matter of
tradition, but a tangible sign of God."
For his part, Benedict Alo D'Rozario, former executive director of
Caritas Bangladesh, called on the cardinal "to listen to the demands
that come from Catholics, so as to meet the challenges facing the
Catholic Church in Bangladesh".
"We expect the Cardinal to be always impartial, loving and just,” he explained, “because he is close to Christ."
Lastly, Brother Theotonius Proshanto Reberio said he hoped that the
cardinal can "maintain this kind of fruitful relationship with his
priests. As for us, we shall continue to work with him."